Bradley Cooper has a few movies in theaters right now – and he really knocks it out of the park by playing larger-than-life movie producer Jon Peters in Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, Licorice Pizza.
Even though he’s only in the film for a few minutes, Cooper’s performance is one of his most memorable aspects, proof of his undeniable acting talent. Which is why it’s surprising that he recently almost gave up acting altogether.
In a chat with Mahershala Ali for Variety’s ‘Actors on Actors’ series, Cooper admitted he pretty much hung up on his feet before PTA offered him the role in Licorice Pizza.
“The reason I didn’t give up acting is Paul Thomas Anderson,” he said. “When he called me about maybe being in his movie, Mahershala, I mean really, I think I would open a door in his movie. I would do anything.”
Cooper explained that he was able to shoot Licorice Pizza during a break on the set of Guillermo del Toro’s latest film, alley of nightmares. “I was able to grow a beard, and Searchlight was praying that I didn’t get COVID, because we had to go back and move on. alley of nightmares. But I was like, ‘There’s no way I won’t.'”
Cooper filmed his role in Licorice Pizza when filming for the film began, but he stayed on set for three weeks, taking notes from Anderson and soaking it all up.
“I watched all the camera tests,” Cooper said of following PTA’s lead on set. “[He] taught me all about lentils, things I didn’t know. He is incredible.”
And Cooper will soon have the opportunity to present this new knowledge: he begins work on his next directorial effort, Maestroa biopic about the late composer Leonard Bernstein, later this year.
Watch the full interview here.